Grieving friends of a “true gent” who died suddenly in a city centre bank are finally set to lay him to rest after a number of local businesses chipped in to help out with funeral costs.
Fun-loving Michael Hodgson was described as an “absolute gentleman” after he collapsed from a heart problem in front of shocked customers at a Barclays branch on Princes Street in January.
The 57-year-old, who moved to the Capital from Yorkshire, was initially set to return to Huddersfield so he could be buried next to his father, however a ‘tug-of-love’ between close friends in his adopted home and those down south meant he has spent more than two months lying in a mortuary until a service could be arranged.
But they will now get the chance to say goodbye to the former chef at Warriston Crematorium on Friday, March 29, thanks to support from a number of local firms.
Pal Stacey Clark initially began a crowdfunding appeal to help meet the costs for the funeral, but later received funding from Edinburgh College to make the initial deposits for a celebrant and undertaker.
Award-winning funeral director Ewan Reynolds offered his services to the close knit group of friends at a discounted rate, while flowers have also been provided at a lower cost thanks to local florist Shirley Hamilton.
And Stacey, 30 - who became friends with ‘Mick’ after meeting him in the Cooper’s Rest bar - is now hoping to give him fitting send off.
She told the Evening News: “I’m more relieved that we have something organised than anything else, it has been a long time coming but I am delighted that we are finally going to be able to give Mick the send off that he would want.”
“It has been nearly nine weeks since he passed and we were all devastated. We used to call ourselves the Cooper’s Family because that is how close we were. It is just such a relief to know that he can finally be laid to rest.”
Mr Hodgson’s wake is set to be held at the Mousetrap bar in Leith, which Stacey described as his “favourite” watering hole, adding anyone who knew him was encouraged to come along and pay tribute to the passionate darts player.
Paramedics rushed to the scene after Mr Hodgson collapsed in the bank on January 14 after being called dozens of times by concerned customers, but were sadly unable to revive him.
He leaves behind children Misha, Thomas, Nathan and Adam as well as nine-year-old grandson Rowan.
Daughter Misha, 25, said she had been “overwhelmed” by the tributes paid to Mr Hodgson after his passing.
Stacey added her thanks to the generous locals who have helped her plan the service, saying she hoped as many as possible could make it along to the Mousetrap to share their memories.
She said: “At the moment, we are probably only expecting around 20 people to be there, but of course I would love there to be more, I would want everyone who knew him and enjoyed his company to come along and pay their respects.”
“I also want to thank everyone who has chipped in to help us with this, the planning, everything, we really could not have organised this service without their help and generosity.”